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30 September 2005 @ 03:50 pm
Serenity Review: Can't Stop The Signal  
Just returned from watching Serenity in the theater. This is, without a doubt, an ultimately powerful, accepting no substitutes for, heartwrenching, heartwarming, appropriately highly anticipated universe of SHINY! -- with a dose of OMGisms, heart-pounding excitement, tears of happiness and sadness, and the overall experience is just phenomenal. Want to know my thorough reaction to this incredible hype? My Big Damn Review for Serenity hidden underneath. SPOILERS will be included, so if you haven't seen the film and want to remain unspoiled go no further.


Pre-Serenity Previews: I'm sure I'm not the only one, but the thrill of going to the movie theaters is seeing the previews for upcoming movies that are to be released. I saw previews for Doom, Aeon Flux, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (remade Disney-version), Jarhead, and Stay. Some of these films are am looking forward to seeing, others I'm deciding whether I should go see them or wait until the rental DVDs come out. Though the previews did seem to take longer to go through than ever before, which I was nearly going to scream at the screen to show the movie already!

And then, my dear friends, it finally started....

Finding Serenity - New Look, New Technology, Same Characters

Given the enhanced technology courtesy of the larger budget of making this film, the feel and atmosphere is quite different from the series -- which isn't a horrible thing, believe me. While the universe is based around a Sci-Fi/Western genre, the Serenityverse has a more Sci-Fi feel than the series did, only because we don't see Mal ride horses or see Jayne wearing a cowboy hat. Or them smuggling cows or black-market beagles. Actually, I was waiting for more Western-connection (just to make all the overly critical movie critics to shut their gobs over the Star Wars/Star Trek comparisions), but after watching the movie I wasn't necessarily disappointed in the lack of horses, cowboy hats and the like. They're still space cowboys...only....not so much as in the series.

Perfection on the characterizations of all the characters and how everything seemed to have taken off from the moment the series finale had left us. The differences of some characters no longer on the crew was an exception, and it made for good storytelling (i.e. Inara returning to her home-planet of Companions and Book had left to go to the planet, Haven. Serenity Crew = Love. Of course, was there any doubt they would disappoint?

No Power In The 'Verse Can Stop Me: The River Tam Complex - "People Don't Like To Be Meddled With"

I was completely blown-away with River's character in this film. Outstanding performance by Summer Glau, astounding dialogue and this answers the mystery behind why the Alliance was after her in the first place. Unless, they still want her for furture references (being that she could possibly have more Top Secret information locked away inside her head that could be damageable to their precious Act of Civilization plans). I liked that once finding the planet where the Reavers were transformed and created, and after throwing up, she said to Simon that she was all right, but then looked up at him and repeated that line more seriously. This indicated that she was no longer a prisoner to all the visions and to the uncontrollable secret that had been tugging in her brain which had been making her slightly insane.

For those wondering my thoughts between Firefly!River and Serenity!River, it seems that in the series River was more of the psychobabbling than the kicking ass like in the film. But if the series had continued we definitely would've seen River kicking major Alliance and Bad Guy butt, possibly during the end of the second season or third season -- but since the series is no more, we'll have to rely on the possibility of more sequels for this to happen (as well as more conclusions to some more questions that were left unanswered).

Young!River was too cute. Not quite as adorable as the little girl who played ickle!River in the series, but I thought her portrayal of a younger version of River was spot-on. Particular in her reactions, the boredom while in the classroom, and especially with her voice. It was almost identical to Summer Glau's! Loved this line, "People don't like to be meddled with." Which was probably foreshadowing what would happen to her in the future.

The Mal/River interaction was too adorable, and because Mal knows deep down that he has a connection with her, for that sole purpose being that the Alliance took something precious from them and they are now both suffering, he doesn't want to intentionally harm or destroy her. I liked that he allowed River to help during their heists, and in the end where he's piloting the ship (after the unspeakable incident happened that I shall get to a little later), River is beside him keeping him company. They have a civil conversation -- and River is actually officially a part of the crew! Hee!

Evil!Doctor and more aggressive Simon Tam. Too. Gorram. Pretty. Oh, and the Crazy Space Incest. There was SO much interaction and subtext between River and Simon, it was making the inner fangirl inside of me squeal in delight. But so was the Mal/River fangirl inside of me squeeing, as well. So...*g*

River slicing and dicing of ALL the gorram Reavers -- purely awesome.

I want her wardrobe, seriously. Those boots. I SO want those boots, and that blue dress....and that outfit she wore during the heisting scene....and, call me crazy, but I want the heargear and uniform the Alliance had her in. Those weapons she uses to kill the Reavers would be shiny too.....

We Need To Resort To Cannibalism - Miranda and the Reavers

Finally! An explanation to how the Reavers were created. For those who are unfamiliar with who the Reavers are, Reavers are basically cannibalistic men who'd gone crazy on the edges of space, far from the alligned planets in which the Alliance control. The outer-planets, especially those farther from each other, are in constant danger of being hit by Reavers when they grow hungry or are looking to attack randomly. To many of the civilized planets run by the Alliance, Reavers are only a grim fairytale of sorts; fables or stories to frighten little children. But those that have been flying amongst the many outer-planets like Mal and his crew, they know all too well that these aren't just stories. Reavers are a grim reality that the Alliance fails to believe in such danger. Until, that is, the movie explains their origins.

Creepifying as Reavers are, in the series we never really got to encounter them face-to-face aside from the lone survivor from "Bushwhacked" who was slowly transforming himself into one. They are scarier to the naked eye than in your imagination, believe me. My sister yelped and covered her eyes at several points (unlike me, because I am used to horror flicks so I was immune to jumping in my seat). But I also thought them as majorly frightening, and definitely wouldn't want to encounter one.

I never expected that Miranda, the name of the ex-terriformed planet, was the orgin source of the Reavers. The storyline of that was, in itself, incredibly brilliant. How the Alliance tried to find a way to "civilize" all human life by creating something to make them non-violent -- which failed, apparently. The 90% of the people on Miranda began to slowly die without fighting it (which made it a peaceful death, but well-perserved bodies as seen in many of the buildings -- it was like a museum of graves) and the other percentage of them turned into violent beings. Raping, killing, and eating the people alive. These were the Reavers. The Alliance knew, and kept it quiet. Chances are, with their planning, they would do something similar with another planet they want to terriform and the same thing will happen again. This is the secret that River accidently tapped into, which is why the Alliance was after her.

Liked the storyline of them, liked how incredibly frightening they were visually and how they came in packs -- much like wolves. The scene with Inara, Jayne, Simon, Kaylee, and Zoe where they were to fight them was such an adrenaline rush. I was crying when Simon got shot (plus River's reaction as he was going down), but I quickly recovered when River started to kick Reaver ass left and right with their own weapons (with that badass knife and scythe). And, Eee!

Plus, Inara with a crossbow? Beautiful! Inarahontas, the new Warrior Women.

Do NOT bring small children into the theaters for this film. Seriously. Action-packed and visually stunning as it is, the graphic images will haunt their dreams for months.

The Message All Over Again - Character Deaths

I cried when Shephard Book painfully died. I cried when Wash painfully died. I cried, and cried, and cursed at Joss for doing this to such two interesting characters of our precious universe. But, knowing Joss, they probably will return somehow during the sequels. Or not, because even though it's of the Sci-Fi genre it ain't Buffy where one character dies multiple times. My jaw literally fell to the floor when Wash was impaled suddenly, and just when he was making his joke of victory. I was breathless and heartbroken. Book's death was also devastating, because we never really do fine out what his social status was before entering into the Preacher occupation.

But Zoe's bravery, her ability to do her job without emotionally breaking down, was outstanding. She really is an incredibly warrior women, and I admire her for keeping her cool during the moment of attack. But now rewatching Firefly it's going to be very different, because I know Wash's fate. As well as Book's.

Damn you Joss! But that's the price I guess, for being so emotionally connected with characters you really love from the beginning. It's heartwrenching and heartbreaking, but this is a movie where sacrifices will be made. So, supposedly if the series does get remade, it'll be entirely different from the original.

Actors/Actresses Performances - Our Serenity Crew's Alter Egos

Nathan Fillion (Captain Malcolm Reynolds): Nathan delivered Mal perfectly. His performance shined all throughout, and reminded me of his performance in the pilot episode of the series. There's that hint of lines underneath his eyes though, which either indicates that Joss is overworking Nathan or that this really does show how dedicated and tortured Mal really is. He was a wreck, especially after witnessing Book die right before him; seeing him suffer. That was a painful scene to watch, and afterwards whent he's demanding everyone to decorate the exterior of Serenity as if they were Reavers themselves, that was beautiful. Saddening, but beautiful. I love my Captain Tightpants!

Gina Torres (Zoe): Once again, she is the ultimate powerful yet sexy warrior women of the Serenity crew. The tension between her and Mal in some scenes was purely amazing -- and her relationship with her husband, Wash, was still the same as in the series. Though heartbreaking in the, as said before. Beautiful actress, wonderful wardrobe (as usual), just amazing all-around.

Jewel Staite (Kaylee Frye): Aww! Little Kaylee, all covered in greasy and still having flirtatious conversations with Simon. I LOVED how Jewel presented Kaylee in this film, and showing the emotional turmoil she felt during many disturbing scenes. Jewel is just so adorable in this role. Oh! And I loved that little talk she has about not getting any sex and she's comparing herself to an unoperated battery or some-such, and Mal gets all flustered and disgusted as if he'd just heard a women describe her period. Hee! Too cute, too adorable Little Kaylee.

Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb): Same ole' Jayne. Adam still delivers him nicely, filled with many comical moments and asshole-like qualities that makes Jayne Cobb...well, Jayne Cobb. You can see that he does like River (checking up on her when she had gotten a vision/felt the Reavers arriving), but he doesn't want her to screw them over with the Alliance or other kinds of trouble -- just like in the series, thankfully. Adam's performance makes me love Jayne even more. And he plays the guitar! Whee! :D

Summer Glau (River Tam): Love her. Love, love, LOVE her! Her badass moments are still running through my mind, and it's still unbelievable that River had all that information and power inside of her. Summer's performance was flawless, her characterization of River was taken to a whole different level, and it was a smart level to take. After viewing this film, I can understand how River's mind works and how she views things (and the dream sequences were beyond amazing). The scene with her after she butchered the Reavers -- THAT was the money shot. That was the 'Touch Chick With Superhuman Powers That Can Kill You With Her Brain' shot. OMG, ultimate LOVE. Summer grew up over the time Firefly was cancelled, which makes the inappropriateness of River being immensely jailbait (but deadly jailbait, you know?) I love River, I love Summer. The end.

Morena Baccarin (Inara Serra): First off, can I have her entire wardrobe? Including the outfit she wore while shooting off Reavers with the kickass crossbow? Susan Pevensie, eat your heart out! The flustering between Inara and Mal was delivered perfectly -- and I loved how everyone onboard was watching them interact via the telecam, and they were reacting to what they were saying (Kaylee is such a Mal/Inara 'shipper, and Mal is such a Inara/Kaylee 'shipper!) -- and Morena finally got a chance to handle weapons and kick ass. Loved her, loved her, loved her. The incense boobytrap was an interesting trick.

Alan Tudyck (Wash): I laughed, I applauded, and I cried. Alan's performance of silly comedic pilot Wash was full-out brilliance. The dinosaurs! I loved that they still had the dinosaurs with him (even after Wash's death they were still there). I like Wash because, honestly, his humor reminds me a lot like Joss's speak. Wash and Zoe's marriage is what I loved the most, and so watching his character disappear was hardest and heartwrenching to witness. Wash was the only pilot on Serenity, and he knew how to operate the ship. I loved him 'till the very end. But to me, there is no end to Wash's character...only the beginning.

Sean Maher (Simon Tam): Evil!Doctor, Overprotective!Brother, Pretty!Simon. Different from how the series portrayed him, although it makes sense since the timeline is that Simon and River boarded Serenity eight months -- so Simon could've adapted Mal's apathy and plant himself for confrontation but still protect River from all badness. Sean is so pretty. But he's not just some pretty boy onscreen to gaze at, his performance showed that Simon can become something more. I cried when he was shot, okay? LEVELS, people. LEVELS!

Ron Glass (Shephard Book): Though he only appeared for a short while before his character was brutually killed off from the universe, I loved how everyone started to rush up and hug Book. Mal and Zoe, most of all. It gives that sense that they know him and are comforted by him. It was a sense of home for them, being with Book and on the planet of Haven. Because it was just that, their haven away from danger. For the while, at least. Ron's performance shined as much as it did in the series. Sad to see his character go, but it was nice to see him once again. But I couldn't help but wonder...no s'ploding hair?

Serenity (um, Herself!): Prettifully enhanced but still the same ole' Firefly transport ship, blatantly disguised as a Reaver ship, crashed and burned to save the crew's lives. Rebuilt once again. She's still flying, and hopefully will keep flying for the two more sequels that are to come.

Overall: Shiny and grand film! I LOVED and ADORED this film of our lovely Fireflyverse, which I should probably call it the Serenityverse so I don't confuse the series to the film. Devastation whelmed over me during certain scenes as described before, but it was just purely amazing and I was enthralled from beginning to end. The storyline, the discoveries, the character developments and the relationships between them. Brilliant. Absolutely fabulous through-and-through.

I'm going to see Serenity one-gazillion times before it turns up on DVD. Then I'll buy the DVD and watch it over and over and over again. Until then, however, I desperately need to get the soundtrack. Pronto!

Still, shiny! *glee*


I dressed up to go to the film as Inara Serra, because how can I be a dedicated Browncoat without celebrating properly? I got all dolled up -- it took approximately three-hours in advanced to be fully prepared. My sister went dressed (partially) as River. It was incredibly fun, even though we were the only ones there dressed as specific characters. Oh well.

Yay, Big Damn Movie! Joss, you do me proud even though you make me cry, you bastard!
 
 
Current Mood: giddygiddy
Current Music: Poe - Control
 
 
 
zip it hello kitty: You gotta have FAITH!dancebymyself on October 1st, 2005 08:35 am (UTC)
Book's death was also devastating, because we never really do fine out what his social status was before entering into the Preacher occupation.

Wow... what I thought Joss made painfully obvious isn't really coming across to Browncoats, because I've been seeing comments like this made all day.

Book = The Operative, The Operative = Book.

There's your answer.
Renéerogueslayer452 on October 1st, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
Really? Huh. I must've missed that part...but perhaps I was looking for something more in regards of having a "dark secret" of some sort.

Guess I'll have to see the film again and look out for that! :)
Jbeauty_awake on October 4th, 2005 09:05 pm (UTC)
Oh fill me in here to please.... The Operative? Can you explain what you mean please?
Renéerogueslayer452 on October 4th, 2005 09:24 pm (UTC)
The Operative is the government (a.k.a. the Alliance). It's presumed that Shephard Book was once part of the Operative before retiring and becoming a Preacher, supposedly after witnessing something horrible.
zip it hello kitty: screamed so loud she could wake the deaddancebymyself on October 5th, 2005 07:12 am (UTC)
The Operative was actually the technical name for the assassin that was sent after River and the crew of Serenity. But other than that, you said exactly what I would've.